Knee Pain: When to See a Doctor
Aches and pains are a sign something is wrong in our bodies, but they often go away over time. How do you know when it’s time to involve a doctor for knee pain?
See a doctor immediately if you injured yourself and your knee looks deformed at the joint, you can’t put any weight on it, there is intense pain, you see sudden swelling, or you heard a popping noise when the injury happened.
If those aren’t factors, the Mayo Clinic says the key is time. If the pain lasts for more than a day or two with no improvement, there might be a bigger problem that won’t go away on its own.
At-home care for knee pain
To see if the pain goes away on its own, you might want to try:
- Rest- But that doesn’t always mean not doing anything. If one activity causes knee pain, don’t do that activity but try something else.
- Ice- Fifteen to 20 minutes several times a day should do the trick.
- Compression- An elastic bandage or sleeve can help control swelling. It can also help keep the kneecap aligned.
- Elevate- Sit back, relax, and put your knee up on pillows to control the pain and swelling. Gravity will help fluid flow as it is supposed to instead of accumulating in the knee area.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can reduce swelling. Acetaminophen can control pain, but will not help with swelling. Make sure you consult with your physician when you take medications.
If rest, ice, compression, elevation, or OTC medicines don’t help after a day or two or if the knee is swollen, red, tender and warm, or there is significant pain, call a doctor. Also, if you have a fever, there might be a more serious issue that will not go away on its own. It could be a fracture or infection.
Loss of range of motion and instability are also signs of a bigger issue requiring medical attention. If you feel the knee will collapse or you can’t support your full weight on the hurting leg compared to the other, you should see a doctor.
Also, call your doctor if the pain happens consistently or is more chronic. You might have a degenerative condition that requires attention.
Think you need a doctor?
Contact us today if you are experiencing knee pain. At Health Star Clinic, we want you to leave our office healthier and happier. See our new patient promises.